Codes of Character
Thank you, Lynda, for hosting me on Star-Crossed Romance today! I brought with me a pot of Okinawan Jasmine green tea to pour for your readers as we discuss codes of character.
Codes of ethics are the rules we use to govern the way we want to live. Everyone has a code. The military has codes, professionals have codes, and even pirates have codes, though I hear they’re more like guidelines than actual rules.
Our codes of honor, ethics and conduct make up our conscious. They give us a moral compass for orienteering our way though life. Right or wrong, we all have a philosophy by which we live. And so should our characters.
Do unto others as you would have them do to you. We love characters with strong moral codes: The Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi, Braveheart’s William Wallace, Spiderman’s Peter Parker. These characters know that with great power comes great responsibility (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and so uphold a high moral standard.
But we also love characters with codes that rival the rules of society, i.e the bad boy romance hero. Who doesn’t love a wronged hero who takes matters into his own hands even if that means going against the law? He’s redeemable in our eyes as long as he is 1) true to his own moral philosophy and 2) that moral philosophy doesn’t stray too far from our own beliefs.
Why do we love Han Solo? He was a scoundrel. A selfish, scruffy-looking nerf herder in it for the reward money. How about Captain Jack Sparrow? He was a pirate. A thief. The first thing he did after stepping off his sinking ship was steal the harbormaster’s purse. What about Jack Colton in Romancing the Stone? He was a mondo dismo.
Joan Wilder: You're a mondo dismo.
Jack Colton: I'm… what am I? I'm what?
Joan Wilder: You're a man who takes money from stranded women!
Even though these heroes weren’t always heroic, they had a clear code of conduct they believed in and followed. That glimpse into their psyche enabled the viewers to understand their actions, to justify them, and sympathize with the character. Since their moral philosophy didn’t stray too far from our own, we loved them even before they were redeemed.
That emotional connection between character and reader is exactly what we’re striving to achieve in our stories.
In my sci-fi romance, CAPTIVE (The Survival Race), alpha gladiator, Max, is a tortured hero with his own moral code. Forced to compete in the Survival Races--a blood sport where the last man alive wins--Max sees himself as a beast. The only time he can feel human is when he’s taken to the breeding box to mate. However, forcing himself on a woman would make him a complete animal, yet seduction...well that’s a different story.
My heroine, Addy, has a moral code too. She has three rules about sex: it is never casual, never used as a weapon, and never, ever given as a thank-you gift.
If you’d like to see what happens when Max and Addy are trapped together in a breeding box when he wants sex while she wants out, please read the following excerpt.
K.M. Fawcett writes sci-fi/ paranormal romances, and enjoys stories filled with adventure and strong, kick butt heroes and heroines. She holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in both Isshinryu Karate and in Ryukonkai (Okinawan weapons). She and her husband own Tenchi Isshinryu Karate Dojo in NJ. When not writing or working out at the dojo, K.M. is home with her two children and two cats.
Attacking The Page blog: www.attackingthepage.wordpress.com
My website: www.kmfawcett.com
AN IMPOSSIBLE JOURNEY
The last thing Addy Dawson remembers is a blazing inferno and freezing river water overtaking her lungs. When she awakens, Addy finds herself on a strange, alien planet, trapped in a cell with no doors, no windows-- and to her horror-- a naked warrior who claims to be her mate.
AN UNDENIABLE PASSION
An alpha gladiator, Max is forced to breed and produce the finest specimens for the Survival Race, a deadly blood sport created by the alien rulers of Hyborea. To rebel means torture-or worse-yet Max refuses to become the animal his captors want him to be. But their jailors will not be denied, and soon Addy and Max find themselves unwilling players in this cruel game. Pushed to the limit, they will risk everything for the chance at a life free from captivity. And though fate brought them together as adversaries, Max and Addy will discover that when they're together, there's nothing in the universe that can stop them.
Addy drew her hand across the wall, searching for a hidden doorknob.
“If you’re looking for me, I’m over here.”
She spun to face the stranger but was tripped up by her hangover and stumbled into the wall. Righting herself, she tried for a casual smile but knew it didn’t pass for anything more than a nervous tic.
When the room stopped spinning, she noticed he had propped himself up on one elbow. His dark, shoulder-length hair and sleepy eyes enhanced his wicked attractiveness. He made no attempt to move closer. Of course, he made no attempt to cover himself, either, and his sheet had slid further down.
She forced herself to look at his eyes. Eyes that shone eerily in the dark like a cat’s. Eyes that appeared emerald.
Odd choice for colored contacts.
“Come here.” He lifted the sheet with one hand and patted the pillow bedding with the other.
Her heart rate revved as she stared at the parts of him beneath the sheet. “I...uh...I...umm.”
“Skittish little thing, aren’t you?”
The only way to stop gawking was to squeeze her eyes shut. “Who are you?”
“You don’t know?” His voice oozed disappointment.
Apparently they had gone through this already. So why couldn’t she remember? What else couldn’t she remember? “Did I—? Did you—? Did we—?” There was no polite way to ask if (a) she’d given herself to him under duress or (b) he’d violated her while she was unconscious.
Okay, that was one way. Odd word choice but it sufficed. She nodded.
“Not yet.” There was no menace or presumption in his words. He spoke them casually, matter-of-factly, as if they’d already discussed sex and concluded they’d sleep together. When had she given him that idea? Her head ached trying to remember.
“I’m sorry. You seem like a nice guy, but I can’t...you know...do this.”
“Oh. First time, huh?”
“Though judging your age, I wouldn’t have pegged you for a virgin.”
“Relax.” The sleep in his voice gave the word a husky sexiness. “I’ll make sure you enjoy it, too.” He got up and strode toward her, eyes hungry and body very ready to make good on his word.
If her pulse was a car, the turbo just kicked in. “Stop right there,” she said, and he did. The surprise was evident on his face. With a body like his, he probably wasn’t used to rejection.
“Woman, this won’t work unless we’re closer. Much closer.” He winked.
She turned back to the wall, frantically feeling for that doorknob. But it was too late. He was behind her, towering over her. Sweeping the hair off her shoulder. Brushing his lips down the side of her neck.
A tingling sensation slid down her spine. “Stop it. I’m warning you.”
“I understand your hesitation,” he said between kisses. “But it’s going to happen sooner or later.”
Like hell it is. She pivoted around and kneed him in the groin.
"Fawcett delivers a suspenseful and captivating science fiction romance. A must read for all, but especially for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES." --Caridad Pineiro, NY Times & USA Today bestselling author
Indie Bound - http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781455546480
-- Lynda Again
Thanks for visiting us K.M. This was a terrific post and I loved your excerpt! I liked the points you raised about codes for both the Hero and Heroine too. I think that's what distinguishes the hero from all others.
Have a Blessed Day!
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